Junior men’s world 100m champion and world record holder Letsile Tebogo is the new face of Orange Botswana, the company has announced.
The 19-year-old’s appointment as the telecommunications brand ambassador comes on the backdrop of his scintillating performances on the track this year.
According to a statement released by the network, Tebogo will be the face of Orange Botswana across its products and service offerings. In return, the company will inject financial support as part of the athlete’s growth in competitive sports.
“Sports is becoming an increasingly important industry for economic diversification. It has resulted in the creation of jobs for youth and has also elevated Botswana to international prominence. For this reason, we are proud to always look for purposeful ways to support and empower the development of local skills and talent pool in our sports industry,” the statement reads.
Orange Botswana chief executive officer (CEO) Nene Maiga says the appointment is part of the company’s intent ‘to support our youth and sports in various ways.’ She says Tebogo ‘is a force to be reckoned with and an inspiration to young Batswana having demonstrated the value of sports in Botswana through his achievements.’
“We found it compelling to partner with him as we play our part creating more sporting opportunities for Botswana. We strive to develop long-term relationships with inspirational young Batswana, like Tebogo who are dedicated, hard-working and those who show excellence in what they do,” Maiga says.
Tebogo’s rise has been trajectory. In April this year, he became the first Motswana athlete to run a sub-10 when he clocked 9.96s in 100m at the National Stadium in Gaborone. He followed that with another sub-10s at the World Athletics Championships Oregon 2022 in July when he ran 9.94s. This was followed by a junior world record breaking 9.91s dash at the Cali World Junior championships in August.
In addition, he became the youngest 200m African champion 2022, becoming the youngest title holder in competition history. To top it all off, Letsile was among the nominees for the World Athletics Rising Star year award despite not scooping it.
Tebogo’s appointment as Orange Botswana brand ambassador has already garnered praise here in Botswana. Local sport scribe City Keagakwa says what Orange has done ‘is a great development and a start of great things.’
“This endorsement is one that will go down history books. Being the face of a company does not come easy and cheap. This will show other corporates that it is possible to partner and support sports men and women. Orange Botswana is showing them the way,” he says.
“As we move towards Paris 2024, if we could have four or five more athletes being endorsed by local companies, it will enhance our medal chances. Athletics is very expensive and this could really help because they need all the support, they need to worry less on finances. Over the years we have overly relied on the government to support sport and if more corporates get on board, we would be able to see positive change in Botswana sport.”
Tebogo’s partnership with Orange may also break existing tendency by corporates to associate with athletes only after collecting silverware. In return, the corporates then exploit the images of athletes to advertise themselves and their services. Keagakwa says Orange Botswana’s endorsement and partnership with Tebogo will curb issues of image rights violations. “This is what we mean when we say one can make money and a living out of sport and orange is showing us exactly this. Sport is a short career. For Tebogo, this deal will set him up for life while he maximises his talent. If World Athletic appreciates him, why can’t we as Batswana show him appreciation and support?” he asks.